fire is a good servant but a bad master
1615 T. ADAMS Englands Sickness 20 The world, like fire, may be a good seruant, will bee an ill Master.
1738 SWIFT Polite Conversation ii. 183 Why, Fire and Water are good Servants, but they are very bad Masters.
1808 J. ADAMS Works (1850–6) VI. 533 Like fire, they [i.e. the aristocracy] are good servants, but all-consuming masters.
1948 H. BESTON Northern Farm xxxvi. ‘Fire is a good servant but a bad master.’ So runs the proverb.
1973 J. CAIRD Murder Remote XX. Is not whisky the wonderful thing? But like fire, like fire—a good servant but a bad master.
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bad — see a bad excuse is better than none bad money drives out good bad news travels fast a bad penny always turns up bad things come in threes there is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes … Proverbs new dictionary
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master — see like master, like man the eye of a master does more work than both his hands fire is a good servant but a bad master Jack is as good as his master jack of all trades and master of none no man can serve two masters … Proverbs new dictionary
servant — see England is the paradise of women, the hell of horses, and the purgatory of servants fire is a good servant but a bad master … Proverbs new dictionary
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